The Creel has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best lumbar/hip packs for 2023.
Functionally, this pack deserves 5 stars, but durability issues knocks it down to 4 stars. I tried numerous models before deciding on the Kelty Creel. When I was searching for lumbar packs I was looking for something that I could bring on short hikes and could comfortably carry 10-15 pounds.
I tested out lumbar packs in the 600-800 cu.in. range from Mountainsmith, REI, and Kelty. The Creel was the only one I tried that was capable. The other brands didn't even come close. The suspension of the Kelty was just better. It cinched down tight and didn't flop around at all with under 10 pounds, and only slightly with over 10 pounds. Additionally, the back pad employs a rubberized anti-slip strip that prevents the pack from sliding down. It's a great feature that few other packs had.
The only negative about the pack is its durability, specifically the attachment points of the shoulder strap and handle. I use the pack every day and have put it through a lot of abuse and one of the attachment points for the shoulder strap broke within a few months and the handle looks like it might not last much longer. If they had used a heavy nylon strapping for the attachment points, I don't think it would be a problem. I've noticed they have corrected this issue with their latest line of lumbar packs, which include the Hawkeye and Oriole. With this in mind, I feel I can strongly recommend the Kelty line of lumbar packs and when I finally replace my Creel I fully intend buy another Kelty.
Design: Lumbar Pack
Size: 850 cu. in.
Number of Pockets: 2 exterior, 1 interior
Max. Load Carried: 10-12 lbs
Height of Owner: 6'2"
Price Paid: $30
Great bag. I really wanted a shoulder bag with a real belt (not a fanny pack with a shoulder strap) and this totally fits the bill. It's great on my bike, on short hikes, and for taking to class. If you can find one, get it.
Number of Pockets: exterior shovel pocket, interior hydration sleeve, two outside pockets
Max. Load Carried: 7 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 10"
Price Paid: $11 used
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Historic Range: $29.95-$39.93
Reviewers Paid: $11.00-$30.00